- Research and Graduate Studies
- Contact Us
- Apply Now
“My fleece of woolly hair that now uncurls”: Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus, “Black” Hair, and the Revenge of Post-Colonial Education
In this presentation of a forthcoming article, Dr. Eric L. De Barros will offer a cross-historical, politically responsive reading of one line from Shakespeare's first tragedy, Titus Andronicus: “My fleece of woolly hair that now uncurls” (2.3. 34). No critic has ever noticed this line as anything more than an obvious representation of its speaker’s, Aaron’s, Moorish appearance; and film, for its part, has either cut it from the script or kept it as an unperformed and therefore oddly inconsequential expression. Addressing and drawing on the under-appreciated value of a Black Studies critical consciousness, this presentation will argue that Aaron's hair straightening represents Shakespeare’s racialization of Ovid's Metamorphoses in an effort to develop for England a liberating, pro-creative alternative to the Roman literary tradition. In this regard, Titus is an anti-colonial play, and Aaron its anti-colonial hero. And it is through the application of Ovidian magic to his hair— like the application of a poetic hot comb or hair relaxer— that Shakespeare imagines a post-colonial future for England.
About the speaker
Dr. Eric L. De Barros is an Assistant Professor of English at American University of Sharjah. His research centers on the politics of embodied subjectivity in early modern literary and educational texts. He has authored several articles on the topic, and his main book project, "Shakespeare and the Pedagogy of Sexual Violence: Race, Class, and the Redefinition of Masculinity,” will endeavor to re-think Shakespeare as an ethically oriented educational theorist with much to teach us about how education reflects, shapes, and interrogates cultural norms.
For more information, please contact [email protected].